This reminds me of more than a few Craigslist ads.

"My Brain Train"

“Down and almost out Producer available for recording projects producing easy to bullshit artists. If you aren’t concerned with the end result, we can still have a fun time in the studio and hanging out afterwards. Most of my connections are dead or in prison but that’s cool. We can still pretend together. I also have original songs. One is really ready to go. It’s called “You’re Not the You I Used To Know”. Call me. I am a self admitted desperado. Let’s make something nobody will ever hear.”

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The Digest – March 23, 2013

fire saleIs the $1.99 Album the Next Big Thing for Musicians? Digital Music News

On February 26th, Amazon decided to offer several albums at the fire sale price of  just $1.99, including Bruno Mars’ latest album, Unorthodox Jukebox, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis‘ The Heist. As both albums had been out for more than four weeks, they promptly climbed up the Billboard 200 chart. But who will pay the artists’ royalties? Or will that change, too?

Emerging Trends in Social Media, and How They’ll Impact Music Music Think Tank

Obviously, mobile devices and apps will gain importance to musicians in 2013, with increased emphasis on email marketing to mobile users. Band websites that are not now optimized for mobile browsing will ultimately cost their owners fans and revenue. And thinking beyond the obvious ways we connect to the web needs to be part of a band’s marketing strategy.

Musicians Accused of Buying Virtual Fans on YouTube BBC Newsbeat

A US-based data monitoring company reports that artists are buying followers and comments in order to bolster their image with the music industry. Is such a practice ethical? Doesn’t it cheapen the music? That’s debatable, but apparently the scheme works well enough for Justin Bieber, who was outed after his YouTube video views surged into the millions.

Songwriters: Find Your Natural Audience Music Think Tank

What’s the difference between Taylor Swift and Nick Cave? Ms. Swift is a pop artist, while Mr. Cave is what the industry calls a niche artist. And you can use these two extremes to figure out where your music lies. Ask yourself who you are, and if your music is more mainstream or more indie. And remember, you’re the mirror of your audience. They’ll come to see themselves in your music.

Unwanted Electronic Gear Rising in Toxic Piles The New York Times

e-waste-dump-nigeriaOld cathode ray tube monitors used to be an easily recyclable item. Not anymore. Since the arrival of the flat screen monitor, the CRTs have become fodder for warehouses, overseas waste shipments, or landfills here. And, as reported in another Times story, unwanted pianos are also finding permanent retirement at the dump. Maybe I should shop for gear there instead of the local music superstore.

Transitioning From Covers to Originals The Big Picture Music Production Blog

If your band has been playing out for a while, chances are one of the members has suggested writing and performing a few original tunes. Problem is, you’re known for being a great cover band. How do you make the transition? Bobby Owsinski offers four good suggestions as to how morph into an original act. One of the secrets? Don’t sound like the record.

Tips For a Great Recording Session Galaris Music Industry Directory

studioIt should go without saying that you need to practice outside the studio. A well-rehearsed band not only saves more money on studio time, but also brings more energy to a session than one still trying to work out parts. Galaris also recommends bringing spares of everything, getting used to a click track, and not believing you can fix it in the mix.

Ten Ways to Unclutter Your Band’s Website Bandzoogle

Exactly how many social media feeds do you need on your website, anyway? Will 40 pictures of the lead singer taken at the same gig really add gravitas? And while you’re cleaning up your website, ditch the guestbooks and hit counters. An uncluttered web presence is your friend.

The Digest is a weekly feature of the Sketchbook blog that provides an annotated listing of links to relevant articles about events, trends, people, and things that have a direct impact on us as musicians. If you find The Digest useful, or if you want to suggest improvements, please let me know. Also, if you have content you’d like to see included, please send a message via Twitter or Facebook. And share the love by passing The Digest on via email or social media.


Image credits: Top – http://www.sunriverrealestatenews.com; Middle – http://www.flatrock.org.nz; Bottom – http://www.tvphotogblog.blogspot.com

The Digest, Volume 8

The Digest is a weekly feature of the Sketchbook blog that provides an annotated listing of links to relevant articles about events, trends, people, and things that have a direct impact on us as musicians. If you find The Digest useful, or if you want to suggest improvements, please let me know. Also, if you have content you’d like to see included, please send a message via Twitter or Facebook. And share the love by passing The Digest on via email or social media.

Advice, by Bob Lefsetz on The Lefsetz Letter.

Bob Lefsetz, music business attorney and all-around music biz guru, publishes a great newsletter, and I urge all who are even remotely interested in music as a career to subscribe to it. “Advice” contains pearls of wisdom like focus on your fans, engage them on social media, post your shows on YouTube, and form good relationships. You’ll find no career shortcuts here, because there are none.

Songwriters’ Groups Speak Out on Internet Radio Bill, on ASCAP.com.

A joint letter to Congress from performing rights organizations ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and the NSAI claims the Internet Radio Fairness Act (the “Pandora Bill”) will harm songwriters by legitimizing the “gross inequities that have developed … as a result of opposing rate setting systems applied to the amounts paid to songwriters, composers and publishers versus those paid to record labels and recording artists.”

The Upside of Music Piracy, on Live Unsigned Blog.

If you can’t beat ’em, should you join ’em? Perhaps, according to some bands who have made new fans out of people who first heard their music from a burned CD or a bit torrent site. You can embrace Neil Young’s “new radio” and get more fans to your shows who will buy more merchandise. Is it more important to lose sales or gain fans?

Get Your Band Noticed On Music Blogs, by Clyde Smith on Hypebot.

Most bands only think about Twitter or Facebook when they hear the words “social media.” But music blogs are also excellent ways to cultivate new fans and retain the ones you’ve won over. Clyde Smith gives a few suggestions regarding how to connect with music bloggers and get them to write about you.

Planning the Perfect CD Release Gig, on Live Unsigned Blog.

The release party needs to be as good as the CD, and it should certainly reflect the time and energy you put into your creation. Consider booking a venue that will sell out – pictures taken there will look better than those of a dozen people standing around in a hall that will hold 300. Work the social media, and send out press releases in time. Read on for more great suggestions.

Tunecore, Artists Release CD; Hurricane Sandy Victims Benefit, on Tunecore.

After the Storm includes tracks by Andrew Belle, jackopierce, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Thousand Foot Krutch, The Parlotones and Rosie Thomas, as well as submissions from bands in Ireland, Russia, and Germany. One hundred percent of the album’s net proceeds will benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

An Interview With Classical Pianist Nick van Bloss, by Melanie Spanswick on Classical Mel’s Piano and Music Education Blog.

Pianist and music educator Melanie Spanswick recently interviewed British concert pianist Nick van Bloss. In recent years van Bloss has come out of retirement from the concert stage, and he has released recordings of Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Keyboard Concertos on Nimbus Records.

Musician Business Cards, by David J. Hahn on Musician Wages.

Success in the music business hinges on the quality of one’s contacts, and a business card is a great way to start that relationship. Serving as inexpensive, pocket-size billboards, business cards announce who you are, what you do, and how someone can get in touch with you. You know what should go on one, but Hahn goes one better with some stunning examples.

Ten Reasons Why Your Facebook Fans Hate You, by Chris Robley on DIY Musician Blog.

Hint: it ain’t because of a lack of Facebook users. Odds are your content isn’t reaching out and grabbing anyone. Or you may be live tweeting your life with updates every 20 seconds with stuff folks just don’t want to know. Or you’re too negative. Or you’re doing any of the other annoying things on Robley’s list. Stop it. Just stop it. Now.

Home Recording Studio Success, by David Cutler on The Savvy Musician Blog.

There are many benefits to a good home studio, guest blogger Barry Gardner writes. It’s cheaper than studio time (if you know what you’re doing), you have the flexibility to try things you’d never have time for otherwise, and you pick up some new skills along the way. The article is a good introduction to recording for those who are considering the investment, and it addresses key considerations for equipping a studio.


Photo credits: Treble Clef – my.opera.com; Captain Jack Sparrow – thehookupic.com; Hurricane Sandy damage – businessinsider.com; home studio – Robert W. Oliver